Man Ray was a 20th Century American Visual Artist, probably best known for his photography. He loved women and he is purported to have said that women amazed him because no matter what they were going through in their lives, they could always steady their hand long enough to apply their lipstick. Whether you are a woman who wears make up or not, I think you will get the essence of his statement. Although men of course have similar strengths and find them in different ways.
The strength and courage of women constantly amazes me, in the world, in my practice and in my life.
We can be strong, courageous, emphatic, spiritual and graceful in abundance. It’s our ability to steady our hand and phone the doctor for the results of our tests, get the children to school against all odds, look after an elderly relative, support a partner with dementia, take a journey on our own, support our children single-handed, stand up for equality – the list of our successes is endless. I am interested in the core of us women which is steely, solid, immovable and strong. We all have it and sometimes in our lives we have to call upon it in order be present – to be vulnerable and to get things done.
Sometimes, we have to dig deep and sometimes, because we cannot see an alternative way, we feel it is our only option and so even though we are afraid, we push through and we get it done.
Fear will never go away completely. As long as we move forward and grow and get out of our comfort zone, fear will always be present. We like being in our comfort zone. It’s safe, warm, familiar and, yes, comfortable. Is it comfortable in a satisfying way? Comfortable and satisfying are to me, two entirely different propositions. We can be comfortable with mediocrity because it’s what we know or we feel is the totality of our capability. To reach out, to dare to change needs courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the emotion that helps us to take action in the face of fear an adversity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said ‘Do the thing and you will have the power.’ Because we are afraid, we wait, thinking that when we have the power we will ‘do the thing’. Getting out of our comfort zone, even though we are fearful it is what gives us the power. The confidence to take the next step. We have to get out of our comfort zone and feel uncomfortable for a while whilst we gather and build our power. In doing so, we gain comfort. It feels less scary. We might even get a buzz from achieving our goals – doing something we didn’t think we could do. Often just after we have done something we were fearful of we are full of excitement, adrenaline and a sense of achievement that we want to do it again – immediately!
We need to be in the fear, manage it and accept it is present and then find a way to work with it rather than trying to avoid it. Rather than trying to put your fear to one side and ignore it, to say ‘I am scared to death and I’m going to do this anyway because I know, on the other side, is freedom.’
I love supporting women to name their fear, to take it and expose it so that it is less powerful, and then to work with it by finding strategies to manage it and to do ‘the thing’.
Many times ‘the thing’ is to be truly authentic in our own skin, to be present, to show up and say ‘This is Me’. To know who I am and meet others in an authentic middle ground, therein lies connection. Connection is what we crave. To be seen and to truly see another.
What is your deepest fear?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous
Who are you not to be?
You are a child of God,
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God which is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Marianne Williamson, A Course In Miracles